Tell me about your Two Kings books.
The Two Kings book series actually evolved from a play we performed for many years in front of tens of thousands of youth in Israel. The play, as well as the books, feature a main character, David, 8. He is charged with performing some sort of daily activity, such as helping watch the baby sister, do homework, whatever. Through simple text and really marvelous brilliant colored pictures we “see” and “hear” an internal Bad King trying to influence David not to do what he’s supposed to. Then we watch as the internal Good King responds with counter-arguments. Finally, we watch as David is torn and struggles to decide with which inner voice, inclination so to speak, he will go.
What inspired you to write books for children?
First, I’ve always loved children. I love to tell my own children stories at the Shabbat table, and before they go to bed at night. I personally have been influenced greatly by inspirational stories which I’ve been fortunate enough to have read or heard. Stories are an important of the human experience.
Second, I think this message of two little voices inside us is important to begin imbuing at an early age. When shall we begin, when someone is an adult?
So, I feel this series is an educational and social mission for me. When we publish a Two Kings book, I think about the little (and not so little) minds who will absorb this important lesson. By the way, the original concept was presented by King Solomon, “the wisest man who ever lived.”
I think about the improvement it will make in their lives to realize they should always weigh their thoughts. That they should not always “just do what you feel.” Think, even if for the moment, reconsider your actions. Am I acting out of raw impulse, or are my actions influenced at all by my thoughts.
I believe in this message for our youth, for our teens, and yes, I believe in it for ourselves as well.
In terms of personal growth and maturity, books were extremely important to me as a child.The only problem was that I wasn’t aware of it at the time. I never opened a book, never read. My dad always said, “Read a book. It will develop your mind.” I was into competitive sports. Now, years later, I’m sorry I didn’t take that advice more seriously. A mind is, indeed, a precious thing. The positive side is I’m repeating that advice to my own kids, and with some of them, thankfully, its sticking.
What are some fun facts about you?
Fun facts. Fun facts. Unfortunately, I’ll really have to share a LOL with you on that one. I guess, you’d really need to rephrase that to get it down. Something more like, What are some non-fun facts about you? In kind of a nutshell, my whole life is fun.
The only thing I like more than to laugh, is when I get someone else to laugh. Our home is full, 24/7,with students and guests who come to meet up with the guy who wrote all those books, worked in a prison and has a black belt in karate. that;s fun.
My dear wife, of 28 very quickly passing years, Miriam, is a serious scholar who runs an entire department at the seminary here in Kfar Chabad. I even get her to laugh a lot. That’s fun. Finally, our seven kids get us both to laugh a real lot — that’s the most fun of all.
Before signing off, I’d like to thank the publisher, Israel Book Shop, a great company for all their help and assistance.